Harry Potter: 15 greatest witches and wizards of all time


Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger. Image Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

There have been many witches and wizards in the world of Harry Potter. Who stands out as the greatest? I’m ranking the top 15.

There have been many witches and wizards over the years on Harry Potter. We all certainly have our favorites. There are questions we raise about certain characters throughout the years, and we change our ways of thinking as we get older and gain more experiences.

While it would be easy to rank characters in order of importance or favoritism, something that’s not always easy is to rank in terms of skill. There are a number of factors that go into being the best of the best. Some may think Voldemort is the best wizard out there. After all, he did rule with fear for a long time.

What it’s worth remembering is that dark magic is the easiest magic to harness. Voldemort, Bellatrix, Lucius Malfoy, and so many other Death Eaters were willing to use banned curses to deal with situations, instead of doing things by the book. Doing things the good way is always harder and requires more skill. That’s why I make a note of who was good and evil in the Wizarding World, although I’m sure you all know!

This list only includes the characters from the world of Harry Potter and doesn’t include the Fantastic Beasts prequels. There are mentions of book and movie elements. After all, some of the characters were developed far more in the books than in the movies, which will help to account for being the “best” at magic.

Here are the 15 greatest witches and wizards of all time in the world of Harry Potter.

15. Voldemort

Good or evil? Does this need answering? He was evil. Definitely evil!

Why he’s the greatest: We have to kick-start this list off with the antagonist throughout the Harry Potter series, right? While he became the most powerful evil wizard of all, that doesn’t necessarily make him the greatest wizard of all time. After all, it was a 17-year-old boy who ended up killing him.

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Yet, Voldemort certainly proved his abilities. He had a handful of spells at his disposal and was able to find a way to cheat death for the most part. At least, he cheated it until Harry Potter realized that what he needed to do to destroy Voldemort once and for all.

Everyone feared Voldemort. So much so that nobody even dared to say his name. In fact, a curse was placed on his name to prove that it shouldn’t be used. No other character has been able to build the fear that Voldemort has managed to in the book or film series.

It’s worth pointing out that Voldemort didn’t necessarily need anyone else. However, there are benefits in being a team player, just like others on this list have proved over time. It was Voldemort’s arrogance that got him killed, which means he doesn’t get to move any higher than No. 15.

Plus, in the end, he was killed by a 17-year-old. Sure, there were others who would have been killed by the teens, but that was in the middle of a fight. Voldemort was so sure that he would win that he wasn’t willing to listen to anyone else or even accept their help.

14. Harry Potter

Good or evil? The Boy Who Lived was most definitely on the side of good.

Why he’s the greatest: It’s impossible to have a list about the witches and wizards in Harry Potter without actually including Harry Potter himself. The problem is, Harry’s not exactly a great wizard. It’s a running joke that he had one spell at his disposal and that was it.

So, why should he be put on this list? Well, it all comes down to the fact that in the end, Harry was the one to finally kill Voldemort. It seems a little odd still that the spell to disarm the evil wizard was the one to kill him, but that’s the way J.K. Rowling wrote it. If we can have a world of witches, wizards, goblins and moving staircases, I think we can overlook this small consistency issue, right?

While Voldemort had more spells at his disposal and more experience, Harry still gets to sit above him. It all comes down to the fact that Harry never actually wanted fame. He hated being the one that everyone knew and at no point did he ask that everyone remembered it was him who destroyed the first Horcrux and that he was the one to take down Professor Quirrell.

At no point did Harry think he was better than anyone else. Despite being a natural at Quidditch or the one to survive Voldemort’s first attack, he wanted to be one of the guys. And he was able to admit his weaknesses.

Admitting his faults meant that he was able to rely on his friends. In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, he even admits that if it wasn’t for his friends, he would have been killed early on. Having the humility to admit that makes him a great wizard, but his lack of spells prevents him from moving up the list.

13. Luna Lovegood

Good or evil? Luna always had a good heart and would never have sided with the Death Eaters.

Why she’s the greatest: Many people would initially overlook Luna. At first, she seemed to be there as some sort of comic relief, popping up now and then with strange things happening to her. She was also there to explain why Harry Potter was suddenly seeing the Thestrals pulling the carriages after the ending of The Goblet of Fire.

However, Luna was also a character to gain inspiration from. Consistently bullied for being different, Luna didn’t try to get revenge against her enemies. She accepted that they could be mean, but purely focused on learning and being a good person to others. What goes around comes around. Because of it, she was someone Harry could trust and learn life lessons from.

And that’s what made her such a stronger witch than so many others. She didn’t rely on dark magic. She practices spells and potions. She took the time to learn more about the world and understand what made the world turn.

We got to see what the goodness did for her skills as a witch in the Battle of Hogwarts. She wasn’t afraid to face her enemies and very quickly picked up spells, like the Patronus, during her training with Dumbledore’s Army.

Most people would have succumbed to the bullying. They’d react in the way that Harry and even Hermione did. Luna refused to rise to anyone, making her strong in character to make her strong in magic.

If there was ever a witch you wanted on your side, it was Luna Lovegood.

Sirius Black. Image courtesy of Warner Brothers

12. Sirius Black

Good or evil? Sirius may have come from a family of dark witches and wizards, but he chose to be good. He was sorted into Gryffindor. It was the start of him finding a place as a good wizard, even if it meant being removed from his family tree.

Why he’s the greatest: When you look at everything Sirius Black went through, it’s difficult not to place him on this list. However, we didn’t see enough of him to really understand how powerful he was. Because of that, he does admittedly remain lower down on the list.

Sirius Black was a good friend and godfather. He loved his friends dearly and he wanted to do right by them, but he spent a decade in Azkaban going crazy thanks to the dementors. Yet, despite the time in the prison, he was able to keep his love for his friends and his need to keep Harry Potter safe.

Many people would have just succumbed to the torture, the removal of their souls. They wouldn’t have even tried to escape, let alone escape to offer help to those who really needed it. And yet, here was Sirius proving his worth, despite everyone believing he was a secret Death Eater.

Sirius proved his abilities during Order of the Phoenix. This was the moment he proved why he was such a great wizard and someone you would want to have by your side in a fight. He took on a number of Death Eaters. It was a lucky shot from Bellatrix that led to his death, one of the most heartbreaking deaths in the whole of Harry Potter.

11. Remus Lupin

Good or evil? Despite being cursed with lycanthropy, Remus Lupin is a good man. He will fight against Voldemort and the Death Eaters.

Why he’s the greatest: Remus Lupin had everything stacked against him. Cursed with a disease that made him a social outcast, he could have turned away from everything good in the world. However, with the help of friends, he was able to find a place in the world.

Of course, those friends all left him. One died, one was thought to be dead and the other was accused of murdering them. Lupin was left alone, in a dark place, but he remained on the side of good. He even became the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, giving him a chance to help build Harry’s confidence in himself and his magic.

We got a chance to see everything that Lupin was fighting against. It wasn’t just the people who flat-out shunned him because of his lycanthropy, but the depression that threatened to eat him up from inside. Yet, he remained focused on being the best he could be — at least when it came to his magical abilities.

His inner strength gave him the outer strength he needed. He was able to find love and fight against the Death Eaters. One of the saddest parts of the story is finding out that Lupin and Tonks both died. Lupin deserved better after finally finding happiness, but it certainly proved that he was willing to put his own life on the line for the safety of the world.

10. Fred Weasley

Good or evil? Half of the Weasley twins, Fred was always going to be a good guy.

Why he’s the greatest: It’s hard to split Fred and George Weasley up. The truth is that they’re just a slide apart and there’s one thing that makes George the better of the two. George was the one to live, even if it was without one of his ears.

I’m joking there! George does have certain qualities that make him a stronger wizard and you’ll learn why I think that soon.

Fred put his life on the line for his family, his friends and the world. At first, he seems like just one of the jokers. He’s certainly got abilities, but they’re used to have fun and play practical jokes. He and his brother are mischief-makers, but in a way, that mischief is what proves him to be an excellent wizard.

Anyone can use magic in a practical way. Anyone can use magic for its intended purpose. Fred finds a way to have fun with it. He and his brother manage to bring joy to everyone, even if it’s sometimes annoying or at an inopportune time.

However, with all the laughter and the games, Fred is able to stand up for something. He’s able to fight when he needs to and he will put his life on the line for others. He’s unselfish and part of that will come from being a twin. Fred likes to have fun, but he also cares for other people. His fun is to bring joy and it’s an excellent personality trait to have.

Some of his inventions have led to helping others against their foes. He’s also been able to build a business with his brother, despite not technically finishing school.

9. George Weasley

Good or evil? Like his twin brother, George was always on the side of good.

Why he’s the greatest: Despite losing an ear, George was certainly an accomplished wizard in the world of Harry Potter. Just like Fred, he was able to build a business and use his abilities to bring joy to the world. While his tricks and practical jokes might have annoyed some, they certainly had their place.

George, like Fred, is often viewed as the comedic relief in the books and movies. However, there’s so much more to him than that. Like Fred, he was a selfless person. When someone needed help, he was there. He knew he was risking his life to get Harry out of danger and becoming a Harry himself, but that didn’t matter. This was something he knew he needed to do.

While George did lose an ear, he still put up a good fight. Besides, he managed to fight off against Death Eaters and didn’t die in the process. Fred would ultimately lay down his life, but George would have the chance to go on and honor his brother’s memory.

And it doesn’t all come down to practical jokes and battles. George was also an accomplished Beater in Quidditch. Yes, Fred was too, but Pottermore points out that George was the more accomplished one.

When things did get out of control, George was the one who could smooth things over. He was more of a bystander, especially in the books. George would always be two steps ahead in thinking, remembering to get the new password for the Gryffindor Common Room and figuring out why Hermione needed to get into the school kitchens.

Sometimes you need brawn, but sometimes you need brains. George offered the latter.

Ginny Weasley. Image Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

8. Ginny Weasley

Good or evil? Like her whole family, Ginny remained on the side of good throughout.

Why she’s the greatest: Out of all the Weasley siblings, Ginny was the only girl. The youngest of seven, she had a lot to live up to. While we got to know Ron, Fred and George well, there were three brothers who had proven themselves to be skilled witches. Even the twins proved themselves to be great at their own thing, hence why both got earlier mentions on this list.

Ginny was the one to prove herself the most. She didn’t let the pressure of her six older siblings hold her back. Sure, she found herself conned by Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but I think we can give her some slack for that. She was 11-years-old after all.

Over the years after that incident, she proved herself a mighty opponent. When Harry was gone from Hogwarts, she and Neville Longbottom were the two that took up Dumbledore’s Army. They were the ones to continue teaching the other students.

If it wasn’t for her and Neville, the other students would not have ever been ready for the fight against the Death Eaters. And we can’t forget that Ginny was a year younger than most of them.

On top of that, she did it all without knowing where Harry Ron and Hermione were. Throughout The Deathly Hallows, they were on the run, trying to destroy as many Horcruxes as they could. Nobody received any word about what they were up to for their own safety.

Ginny didn’t worry about all that. She focused on what she needed to do. And when it came to the big fight, she certainly held her own.

Helena Bonham Carter. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

7. Bellatrix Lestrange

Good or evil? Can we really say anything different from Bellatrix being on the side of evil?

Why she’s the greatest: When it comes to Death Eaters, there were very few as loyal to Voldemort as was Bellatrix Lestrange. Despite all the time spent in Azkaban, she never forgot why she was there or that he would rise again.

When it came to strength and accomplishment, you may be scratching your head at how Bellatrix is so high above Voldemort. I promise it’s not just because Helena Bonham Carter did such a wonderful job portraying the character from the books. The character simply deserves to be here.

Despite all the torture that she went through, she was able to keep a level head when it came to spells. Yes, she was absolutely deranged and she was pure evil, but she was smart and forward-thinking. When needed, she would get (well, order) help. When items were missing from her vault, she would immediately have her suspicions.

In fact, her vault is one sign of her skills. She knew that despite Gringots supposedly being thief-proof, there was always a chance someone would get in. So she had her own defense systems set up within her vault.

Bellatrix didn’t just kill for the sake of killing. Her art was in torture. Okay, maybe we shouldn’t call it art, but for her it was. It was a way to get answers and make it clear that crossing with her was an extremely bad idea.

Most Death Eaters wouldn’t make it to this list. Their power is simply in the willingness to use the easiest, but deadliest of magic. Bellatrix will use that, but she will also use other magic, proving her to be the greatest of all Death Eaters and greater than Voldemort.

6. Minerva McGonagall

Good or evil? McGonagall always fought on the side of good.

Why she’s the greatest: For most of the series, we only ever saw Minerva McGonagall as the Head of Gryffindor and one of the professors. It was a limited role for the most part, which is why many of the professors don’t actually make it to this list.

However, McGonagall proved her skills in other ways. Let’s just start with her way of proving that nobody would get away with being late to her class. Ron and Harry are shocked to see her turn from a cat to a woman, making it clear she was always watching.

Her main skills shone through when it came to the big fight at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She raised the defenses without blinking an eye and quickly got to work on protecting the students.

In fact, McGonagall put the students first always. She would try to keep them out of danger but would face trouble at many a turn. She was also fair to the students, seeing talent where it was and taking steps to nurture that talent as much as possible.

McGonagall was also strong in personality. Maybe that’s just Dame Maggie Smith in the role on the screen, but it was also the same personality I got from the book. This was certainly a woman not to argue with. Harry learned that more times than he would have probably liked.

5. Neville Longbottom

Good or evil? There’s no way of arguing Neville was anything but good.

Why he’s the greatest: Part of me wanted to put Neville higher than Albus Dumbledore. However, in the end, I had to put Dumbledore higher, purely due to experience. This is an argument I’ll use later on this list, too.

When we were first introduced to Neville Longbottom, he was this nerdy, overweight kid. He had a good heart, but he was forgetful and accident-prone. He was used for comedic value more often than not, especially within the movies.

That changed over the course of the books and the movies. The Harry Potter books give us more of a reason to regard Neville so highly. They go into Neville’s life growing up.

Unlike Harry, Neville didn’t just lose his parents due to The Killing Curse. Neville’s parents were tortured to the point of losing their minds. They were in one of the psychiatric hospitals in the Wizarding World, leaving Neville’s grandmother to raise him. Naturally, she wanted to protect him from everything that happened to his parents.

Neville could have stayed out of the fight for this. Or he could have gone in with pure revenge in mind. Instead, he was selfless and caring. He took over Dumbledore’s Army when Harry was expelled and on the run, making sure his fellow students had the skills needed to fight in the upcoming war against the Death Eaters.

Plus, Neville is the only Hogwarts student of his time to be a professor at Hogwarts. It may be herbology, but that was proven to be extremely useful for many a potion!

4. Albus Dumbledore

Good or evil? Albus Dumbledore may have done some questionable things as Headmaster of Hogwarts (letting children fight evil and not stepping in to help?), but he was definitely on the side of good.

Why he’s the greatest: Albus Dumbledore was a force to be reckoned with. He was a man of knowledge and power. Naturally, he would have to have those skill sets as the Headmaster of Hogwarts. Did you really think anyone would get that position without skill?

I know a lot of people would want to see Dumbledore higher up on the list. After all, he was accomplished. However, he had weaknesses that made him not quite as strong, as smart or as great as some of the other witches and wizards in the Harry Potter universe.

This was a man who relied on others to do his work. While that could be seen as a strength, he would allow children to put their lives at risk to stop evil. We just have to look at Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to see how he turned a blind eye to three 11-year-olds putting their lives at risk.

While he would sometimes step in, it was sometimes too late. However, he did manage to be in the right place and the right time on many occasions.

I will still always remember the scene of Dumbledore fighting against Voldemort in the Ministry of Magic, which showed Dumbledore’s skills as a wizard against the Dark Lord. He gave this look of an old man, but it’s soon clear at this moment that he’s able to fight. He’s a brilliant wizard and that puts him close to the top.

3. Molly Weasley

Good or evil? Molly was definitely on the side of good.

Why she’s the greatest: Whoa, Molly Weasley ahead of Albus Dumbledore? I know a lot of people will be scratching their heads at this at first, but hear me out.

Quite simply, we didn’t get to see Dumbledore do that much. He was Headmaster of Hogwarts and that had to stand for something, but there were only a handful of times we saw Dumbledore in action. Molly, however, was constantly doing something with magic.

Anyone could learn how to battle with their wands. It’s a lesson taught at Hogwarts, after all. Molly went one step further and figured out how to make magic practical. When you head to the Weasley house, you see all the charms she has going at the same time.

There’s no doubt that she would have to keep checking over on those charms. Nothing lasts forever. And she’d have to see if other charms were needed. Molly was able to run a household and be there for her children because of her brilliance with magic. Maybe it was cheating to some, but I view her as a smart woman who deserves an excellent place on this list.

While she managed her charms at home, Molly also proved herself to be a worthy opponent against the Death Eaters. In spite of her fear and her grief, she was able to protect her own children and others with her own skills, making her stand out as a mother you’d want to have in your life.

2. Hermione Granger

Good or evil? There’s no doubt that Hermione was on the side of good.

Why she’s the greatest: When we were first introduced to Hermione Granger, she was an 11-year-old, stuck-up know-it-all. This was a kid who was bratty to everyone she viewed as lesser than her. Whether they were a full-blood witch or a muggle, if they didn’t compare to her in terms of knowledge, she wasn’t interested in them.

That all changed throughout the first year of Hogwarts. It was very quickly clear that Hermione wanted to prove herself. As a muggle-born witch, she felt the need to prove her worth. That meant a shield was put up.

It also meant that she studied harder. She was willing to take multiple classes to further her education in a short space of time. She could figure out the right potions and learn how to cast spells quickly.

Had Hermione and Severus Snape been the same age, it would have been an interesting comparison between the two. The only reason I can’t put Hermione in the No. 1 spot is the experience within most of the world of Harry Potter. She didn’t have any to start with, but she was willing to gain it.

In the end, Hermione was the one to get Harry out of most of his scrapes. Harry and Ron were only alive and not expelled because of her in most cases. As she grew up, she learned humility and quickly became a female character to support 100 percent.

1. Severus Snape

Good or evil? That would depend on who you speak to. In the end, it turned out he was a double agent working for the side of good all for the love of Lily Potter.

Why he’s the greatest: Severus Snape certainly has his faults as a person. There are times that I hated the character, but that doesn’t stop him from being the greatest wizard in Harry Potter of all time.

There is no way that anybody could get the better of him unless his guard was down. He was constantly one step ahead of the enemy. It was only Voldemort who was able to kill him and that’s because Voldemort finally figured it all out.

When it came to being a double agent, Snape was everything the books and movies needed. It was impossible to tell what he was up to and why. His disdain for James Potter meant a disdain for Harry, but there was also that love for Lily that meant Snape would never actually want Harry to die.

But the proof that he’s the greatest wizard is in The Half-Blood Prince. This book was the one that showed us why Snape was the Potions Professor at Hogwarts. He knew things that nobody else did. While everyone failed by adhering strictly to the textbooks, Snape was the one to figure out the real ingredients and the correct amounts to use of them.

As a student, he was smart like Hermione. Unlike Hermione (and mainly, it’s unfair because there wasn’t the time for Hermione), Snape had the experience. Snape had lived a life of danger and regret. He’d loved and lost. Those elements combined gave him the life experience to push further and be the best that he could be.

Next. 50 most shocking moments in Harry Potter books and movies. dark

Do you agree with this list? Who would you rank as the greatest witches and wizards in the world of Harry Potter? Share in the comments below.